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Boost for Opening Doors’ Prosperity Project
brings business microloans to Sacramento region
SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 27, 2012 — Lower to moderate-income entrepreneurs planning start-ups and small-business owners looking toward expansion can now qualify for microloans through the Prosperity Project at Opening Doors Inc., which serves the Sacramento region.
Long associated with the developing world, microloans can be financed at amounts far too small for banks to offer profitably, in the case of the Prosperity Project, between $5,000 and $50,000. But those amounts are often all that stand between an entrepreneur or small-business owner trying to execute a solid business plan, and an open path to success.
The expansion of Opening Doors’ Prosperity Project is being made possible through a $300,000 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to major support from Wells Fargo Bank and Comerica Bank.
Over the years, Opening Doors has extended microloans to immigrants and refugees relocating to the Sacramento area. The relatively tiny loans sparked the success of any number of types of small businesses thriving today, from day care centers and catering services to long-haul trucking enterprises, to name a few.
However, the size of the SBA loan allows Opening Doors to offer these micro financing packages to any qualifying applicant within the Sacramento region — not only to immigrants and refugees. The need is real, and the potential is great, say representatives of Opening Doors.
“There’s a huge credit gap out there,” said David Blicker, executive director of Opening Doors. “A lot of people understand what a dire need there is for microloans in the Sacramento area. This is why Wells Fargo and Comerica stepped forward to make this opportunity happen for anyone with a valid, workable idea for achieving business success.”
Blicker expects the new support will result in about 30 loans during the first year. It will focus on helping low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs, especially those seeking between $5,000 and $20,000 in financing.
Microloans can either start or expand an existing small business, helping successful applicants with basic costs such as purchasing equipment, inventory, facilities improvements and essentially turning a dream into a working start-up business. There are requirements, though. Applicants must draft a thorough business plan to qualify, clearly explaining how and why their enterprise will earn enough money to repay the loan.
Selected borrowers will receive individualized business assistance and training. Loan terms will be up to five years, with interest rates of 8.5 percent or lower.
The training for microloan recipients mirrors Opening Doors’ acknowledged success in teaching personal financial management through its MoneyWork$ program.
For years, Opening Doors has helped families improve their financial management practices and develop a personal roadmap to self-sufficiency. The program increases participants’ understanding of the U.S. financial system and ultimately aims at helping them get out of debt, retain more of their assets and achieve their financial goals.
Now, for people with the ambition to turn ideas into working and growing small businesses, the expanded Prosperity Project can take smarts, ambition and drive to a new level.
“The expansion of the Prosperity Project celebrates how America’s promise to newcomers and longtime residents alike is alive and well. We’re proud to be a part of rewarding hard work with a well-earned opportunity to create one’s own success,” said Donald Terry, Wells Fargo Vice President of Community Development for Northern California.
While Wells Fargo and Comerica played a lead role, along with the SBA, additional support for expanding the size and scope of the Prosperity Project comes from U.S. Bank, Citibank, Bank of the West and United Way, with much of that support backing Opening Doors’ ability to provide financial capability education.
“The Prosperity Project showcases how private enterprise and the nonprofit community can work together to turn potential into personal success. Small businesses tell America’s story and communicate its promise, and that’s what makes this partnership exciting,” said Don Kincey, V.P. Public Affairs, Comerica Bank.
About Opening Doors
Opening Doors, Inc. helps underserved members of the Greater Sacramento Area find greater opportunities within the US social and economic system, to become self-sufficient, and to realize their dreams of a better future. Its programs help those escaping human trafficking and newly-arriving refugees to restart safe and healthy lives. Opening Doors achieves this by providing tools for immigrants, refugees, and low-income citizens to build or grow small businesses, and to gain greater control over their personal finances, relying on a hardworking, multi-cultural staff and group of volunteers that respect the cultural identities and individual goals of their clients.